Foreign citizens require a residency permit to stay long term in one of the GCC countries. A resident’s card allows expatriates to live and work in a GCC country, or accompany a family member.
GCC resident cardholders can also enjoy travel benefits including a special GCC eVisa for Oman.
This article provides information about traveling to Oman with a GCC resident card and applying for the residency permit.
Which are the GCC countries?
There are 6 members of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, originally known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
The GCC nations are:
- Saudi Arabia
- The United Arab Emirates
The GCC is a political and economic union and, for GCC nationals, constitutes a borderless travel zone. Foreigners residing in any of the above countries will be issued with a GCC resident’s card.
Who Can Get a GCC Resident Card?
Expatriates living in one of the countries listed above are issued with a GCC resident card provided they meet certain criteria.
Please note all expatriates who wish to remain in a GCC country should have a residency permit. Although specific criteria differ depending on the country, in most cases residency permits are issued to individuals sponsored by an employer or family member.
Obtaining a GCC residency permit through employer sponsorship
It is usual for employers to arrange the residency permit on behalf of the employee. Most companies hiring foreign workers have a staff member familiar with the process who will arrange the paperwork.
Employees need to provide the company with all the documents necessary for GCC residency, details of which can be found below.
Applying for a GCC residency permit through family sponsorship
Foreigners sponsored by an employer in the GCC country can then acquire residency cards for their family members.
The spouse and children may join an employed family member once they have their own GCC residency permit. In some cases, wider family members may also be eligible for a family-sponsored residency.
Documents Required to Apply for a GCC Resident Card
Residency permit application requirements vary depending on whether the individual wishes to live in Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, or the United Arab Emirates.
Expatriates should check with the embassy or consulate of the GCC nation in their home country to confirm the specific criteria.
The basic documents required to apply for an Oman residence card are:
- Completed residency application form
- Original passport
- Medical examination certificate
- Letter from the employer
The Oman residency permit is issued by the authorities in the GCC nation.
Travel Benefits of the GCC Resident Card
Foreigners living in a GCC country who have a residency permit can obtain a reduced-cost GCC Oman eVisa.
To be eligible for this special Oman visa, foreigners must be in possession of a GCC resident card valid for at least 6 months from the date on which they will enter Oman.
How to apply for an Oman visa with a GCC resident card
In addition to a residence permit, travelers applying for the GCC residence visa must provide the following documents to travel to Oman:
- Proof that the visitor is arriving in Oman directly from another GCC nation (such as flight ticket)
- Copy of the passport biographical page (valid for 6 months)
- Passport-style digital photograph
On arrival in Oman, travelers with a GCC visa will be asked by border officials to present a copy of their GCC resident card which should be valid for 180 days.
GCC residents are also able to use Smart Gates at the airport. Smart Gates allow passengers to move through immigration faster.
The permit is single entry and valid for stays of up to 28 days in Oman.
Do GCC Citizens Require a Visa for Oman?
Citizens of fellow GCC countries do not need a visa to visit Oman. Thanks to the political union between 6 members of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, passport holders from these nations can travel around the region visa-free.
All other ordinary passport holders must apply for an Oman tourist eVisa or another relevant visa.